By Nasser Kasozi Akandwanaho
Two of the suspects behind the deadly City 5 Waragi (gin) that is said to have killed 14 people in Arua City last week, have reportedly crossed the border to neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, while the managing director of the factory is under police custody pending investigations.
Police last week arrested four suspects in connection with the incident.
Mr Yovan Adriko, the Vurra MP, in whose constituency seven of the deceased people came from, said the hunt is on for the two fugitives.
Owner on the run
“We have information that the owner is on the run and has already fled to DRC. I have already informed my counterparts in DRC and the hunt is on for her. We shall use all possible ways to make sure she is arrested and brought back to face justice,” Mr Adriko said.
Mr Adriko also castigated the residents of Anzuu in Vurra, who allegedly vandalised the home of a resident they accused of poisoning the deceased.
Although he did not name the victim, he said after the deaths, residents stormed the home of the man they accused of poisoning the victims, burnt his house and destroyed several other properties before banishing him from the area.
“This was very bad. They should have waited for investigations before taking the law into their own hands. Now investigations are pointing to a problem with the factory. So how are they going to compensate the young man? It is very wrong to engage in mob violence against suspects,” he said.
However, Ms Josephine Angucia, the West Nile region police spokesperson, said she was not aware of this incident.
“I have not got that information and I don’t know whether the area MP reported the matter to police, but I will follow it up,” she said.
She said while one of the suspects is on the run, the key suspect is in their custody. She also said a third person, who had reportedly opened another branch of the factory at Ragem in Arua City, is also on the run.
Parliament orders ban
At Parliament yesterday, Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa asked the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) and the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) to ban media advertisements of substandard products that have flooded the market.
While presiding over plenary on Tuesday, Mr Tayebwa said whereas substandard products continue to pose a risk to the lives of Ugandans, manufacturers have continued to advertise them in different media across the country.
“If it is illegal to have a non-certified product on the market, then how do you allow it to be advertised?” Mr Tayebwa wondered.
Mr Tayebwa’s remarks followed a submission by Mr Jackson Atima Lee, the Arua Central MP, who informed the House of the fate of the victims after they allegedly consumed the locally manufactured alcohol.
He said more than 20 people were being treated at Arua Regional Referral Hospital and other health facilities in the sub-region.
“This drink is uncertified and a lot of substandard goods are produced in this country. They are sent on the market. There are also uncertified goods that are imported into this country” Mr Atima said.
The State Minister of Industry, Mr David Bahati, told the House that the factory, which has been producing the liquor, had been closed.
“We dispatched a team of UNBS to assess the situation. We picked a sample of the alcohol [for analysis] and in a few days, we shall have the result,” he said.
He said his ministry is increasing law enforcement to ensure only certified products with UNBS label are sold on the market.